Medicine Monday: Valerian Root

Written by Algoth’s Grove 

“It smells like old socks, but the effect it has on the mind to enter into a blissful sleep, is almost second to none… never give it to a restless baby or an expecting mother…” 

Valeriana Officianalis

Folk names: All-Heal, Amantilla, Bloody Butcher, Capon’s Trailer, Cat’s Valerian, English Valerian, Fragrant Valerian, Garden’s Heliotrope, Phu, Red Valerian, St. George’s Herb, Sete Wale, Set Well, Vandal Root.

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Interestingly enough, Valerian is not mentioned in historical accounts as is the hype all over the internet. It is however first mentioned between the 9th and 10th Century. We find its first mention in the anglo-saxon leechbook, Bald’s Leechbook is attached at the end of this blog. 

Another recently found shocking truth about Valerian Root is that it is a mutagen. For this very reason, Valerian root must never be used in pregnancy. According to the National Centre for complimentary and Alternative medicine, Valerian is more commonly used for ailments such as insomnia, anxiety and restlessness. Throughout the hundreds of various studies done on Valerian vs Placebo, the findings which can be found here: patients who took valerian had an 80% chance of having improved sleeping patterns than those who took a placebo.  

The studies do speak for themselves, even the findings of the morning aftereffects / hangover side effects were far less in patients who took valerian over those who took prescription sleep aids. Dr. Christopher Hobbs has studied this plant in detail and notes the following: “Valerian is best known as a nervine, sedative, anti-hysteric, and sleep aid.” You can read his paper on Valerian Officianalis here: 

Unfortunately for us in the modern era, the internet wastes away many an individual with texts that promote herbs and the like without giving much thought to the background of the individual who is reading and digesting this information. In an old South African text Dr. Vogel states that Valerian is by no means a long lasting sleep aid, and he suggests adding Passiflora to the sleep remedy. He also states that the dosage can be as much as 800mg for a grown individual. We see in the findings of the National Centre for complementary and Alternative medicine that a grown adult would be subjected to as much as 1215mg of Valerian per day.  

We do know that Valerian aids one in sleep. It has been recorded to produce a restful sleep devoid of lucidity or dreamlike states. It is important to note that Valerian root is a mutagen, as mentioned before. Science has not been able to find accurate proof of its side-effects but it is noted that it has a minute adverse effect on the liver. More research on many of our alternative medicines need to be done, in saying that, more research needs to be done in all plants. If you are taking alternative remedies and you are concise about your findings, writing them down, recording them would be helpful for the research of all our natural allies.  

In magic, Valerian root is a powerful protector and banisher of all things unpleasant. The energetic signature of Valeriana Officianalis is one of shielding, protecting and of the self-image. Use Valerian root in your spell work to forge a more positive outlook of your own life, and to see the positivity of your life. It is recorded by Scott Cunningham that Valerian Root powdered up can be used as a substitute for graveyard dust. On the subject of using Valerian in love magic to attract a partner, I would have my doubts, it is more effective as a banisher and a shield, aiding the practitioner in powerful protection magick. Make sure to make a protection mojo bag and hang it over the doors of your home to ensure not an unwanted spirit will enter.  

For the rest, medicinally and magically, it is always up to the practitioner to make good judgement of the information available to them. It is also imperative that your own findings are recorded.  

Categories: Medicine Monday

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